Vital Signs | KERA News

Vital Signs

Vital Signs is a weekly consumer health chat featuring leading North Texas medical figures. Hosted by Sam Baker, topics range from flu to skin cancer to exactly what a New Year’s cocktail does to your body.

Listen every Monday at 8:22 a.m. on KERA 90.1 FM.

Ways to Connect

Lupus: A Cruel Mystery

Feb 11, 2013
Laurin Rinder / shutterstock.com

Some call it the cruel mystery. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can strike any part of the body, but the wide range of symptoms can be easily mistaken for something else. In this segment of KERA’s Vital Signs, Tessie Holloway, president of the Lupus Foundation of America’s North Texas chapter, discusses the disease and the need for greater awareness.

PeacockParables.com / flickr.com

Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and fever reducer found  in various brand-name products you may have at home – Tylenol, NyQuil or prescription drugs like Vicodin or Percocet. But using too much acetaminophen – and some people do – can lead to liver damage. Dr. Shannan Tujios of  UT Southwestern Medical Center talks about the dangers in this week’s edition of “Vital Signs.”

Justyna Kaminska / shutterstock.com

A health disparity from the 90s holds true: A recent study found African Americans are still at higher risk to die from a heart attack or heart failure than Whites. In this edition of “Vital Signs,” Dr. Tim Isaac, a cardiologist with Methodist Charlton Medical Center talked about the reasons why.

4 Good Ways To Get Rid Of Unused Medication

Jan 7, 2013
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Disposing of unused prescription drugs the wrong way can have serious consequences. Jeena Connor, Director of Pharmacy Services at Methodist Charlton Medical Center, explains in this segment of Vital Signs.

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As we prepare to pop the cork on champagne to welcome the New Year, Bryan Wasson, an internal medicine specialist at Baylor Medical Center in Irving, breaks down the effect of alcohol on the body.

A recent study found even light to moderate smoking (one to 12 cigarettes a day) can increase the risk in women of sudden cardiac death. SCD causes about 325,000 adult deaths in the U.S., and is  responsible for half of all heart disease deaths. In this segment of Vital Signs, Dr. Amir Choudhry, a cardiologist with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano, explains sudden cardiac death.

5 Key Questions In The Race Against Flu

Dec 12, 2012
Lance McCord / Flickr.com

Health officials say get a flu shot if you haven’t done so. The virus arrived early, hitting Texas and four other southern states harder than other regions. In this segment of Vital Signs, Dr. Shantala Samart, an infectious disease specialist with Methodist Charlton Medical Center, talks about the flu strains being seen in Texas and why the virus showed up early.

Hidden Calories In Alcoholic Drinks

Dec 3, 2012
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Holiday meals and snacks pack on the pounds if you’re not careful, but so can drinking. In this edition of Vital Signs, Dr. Bradley Jones with Baylor Medical Center Irving tells how and why alcohol can add to your waistline.

Blood Donations: The Gift That Keeps Giving

Nov 26, 2012
Carter Blood Care

During the holidays when thoughts turn to gift giving, organizations like American Red Cross and Carter Blood Care tend to see fewer donations. Dr. Lesley Kresie, Carter's medical director of laboratory services, explains why in this week’s segment of “Vital Signs.”

Six Facts About How Blood Donations Are Used:

Whole blood, kept cool in refrigerators, can be transfused for 21 days after the donation.

UT Southwestern Medical Center

Scientists studying cancer cells in humans commonly transplant them to grow human tumors in mice. It’s called a xenograft.  Problem is the tumors don’t always grow in mice as they would in patients. But scientists at U-T Southwestern Medical Center have developed a xenograft model that consistently works in the study of skin cancer. Dr. Sean Morrison authored a study on this subject and talks about it in this week’s edition of KERA's Vital Signs.

Medical City

An alternative for patients who can’t survive open heart surgery replaces the aortic valve without opening the chest or heart. Medical City recently became the first in the country to perform the procedure, just days after it received FDA approval. 

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com">shutterstock.com</a>

You might think your home is safe for a small child. But you’d be surprised at the dangers to children lurking inside. 

Paul Huljich had it all. His organic foods business brought him wealth and luxury. But he lost it all after a nervous breakdown and a bipolar diagnosis.

Up-Rising / Flickr.com

Results of a new study of nearly six thousand men with prostate cancer indicate those treated either with surgery or radiation could benefit from taking aspirin regularly. In a KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talks with Dr. Kevin Choe of U.T. Southwestern Medical Center about the study.

MedicineNet.com

Like the U.S. overall, Texas is seeing more cases of pertussis or whooping cough – nearly 1100 people have come down with it this year. Six have died. 

Doctors at Heart Hospital in Plano have combined two technologies in a new approach to treating atrial fibrillation. It’s the most common form of irregular heart beat and affects three to five million Americans. Dr. J. Brian DeVille talked about this in a KERA Health Checkup.

crmgucd / Flickr.com

In this KERA Health Checkup, a refresher course on cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR. Two years ago, guidelines for the procedure changed to put emphasis on chest compressions. Doreen Riccelli of Lake Pointe Medical Center in Rowlett explains.

As student athletes begin a new school year, players, staff and parents need to be mindful of staph infections.  They’re the result of bacteria we all have on our skin and in nasal passages. But the director of primary care sports medicine at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center says contact sports raise the potential for an infection. Dr. Robert Dimeff explains in this KERA Health Checkup.

Too much time in the sun can be dangerous if you’re not careful – and well beyond a sunburn. The National Cancer Institute says more than a million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. But dermatologist Dornechia Carter says skin cancer is often curable if it’s caught early. She talked with Sam Baker about skin cancer in this KERA Health Checkup.

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Many in the medical community favor breastfeeding for the physical benefits it offers both mother and child. But not every woman can do so. In this KERA Health Checkup, Kathy Chaney, a nurse and lactation consultant at Baylor University Medical Center, talks about alternatives for women who can’t or should not breastfeed.

UT Southwestern Medical Center

With Type-2 diabetes, the body’s ability to produce needed insulin declines. Doctors often recommend lifestyle changes and the drug metformin after an early diagnosis. But an eight year study by U.T. Southwestern Medical Center has found early intensive treatment of insulin and a drug regimen may be a better strategy. In a KERA Health Checkup, the author of the study, Dr. Ildiko Lingvay, talks about the results.

US EPA

Air pollution watches are common this time of year. They’ve been around since 2000, but rarely does anyone say what they mean. In a KERA Health Checkup, Robert Kent, Director of Environmental Programs for the North Texas Commission, explains the alerts are a warning about ozone in the North Texas air.

rp4prez2008 / (cc) flickr

Dallas, Tarrant and Denton counties recently confirmed their first human cases of West Nile Virus. Dr. Cedric Spak says most people bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile will never know it. But in this KERA Health Checkup, the infectious disease specialist said West Nile is a potentially serious disease of two variations.

medicinenet.com

For those suffering from osteoarthritis - a disease resulting from wear and tear on joints - a joint replacement is sometimes needed after all other attempts at pain relief have failed. But a successful replacement depends in part on a proper fit of the implant to the bone. Dr. Bruce Bollinger is an orthopedic surgeon in Fort Worth, and one of two doctors in Texas trained in a recently FDA approved method of custom-fitting knee implants to patients. 

medicinenet.com

It’s a painful, often limiting disease resulting from wear and tear on joints. Osteoarthritis in some form will affect one in two Americans in their lifetime. About 27-million adults have it now. In a KERA Health Checkup, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bruce Bollinger talks about treatments and describes osteoarthritis.

Queen Roly / Flickr

It’s the second most common cause of missed work in this country after back pain. About 30 million or more people in America suffer from migraine – often in the form of debilitating headaches. But in a KERA Health Checkup, Deborah Friedman of UT Southwestern Medical Center said the types of migraine can vary.

Shutterstock

It contributes greatly to a successful pregnancy, but not all moms-to-be receive prenatal care. Those who do sometimes overlook common warning signs during pregnancy. Dr. Wayne Farley is Medical Director of the Advanced Maternal and Newborn Institute at Medical City in Dallas. In a Health Checkup, Dr. Farley described some of those.

colin_n / Flickr

Your medicine chest may contain everything from actual medicine to personal grooming items. But in this KERA Health Checkup, some ideas for what should be in the medicine chest from Dr. Shaun Murphy, a general practitioner and chairman of Dallas Medical Specialists. He told Sam Baker the most important item is a list of your prescription medications.

bobbyyb78 / Flickr

Faced with a medical problem, many people opt for the emergency room or they contact their primary physician. But in today’s Health Checkup, we look at when to use a third option: urgent care centers. Sam Baker talked with Dr. Sarah Holder, medical director of the Quick Care Clinic at Methodist Charlton Medical Center in Dallas. 

Most surgeries involve a doctor’s hand working inside the body. But each year more doctors and patients are opting for a robotics-assisted approach. There’s more precision and greater visibility for doctors with 3-D imaging, plus less scarring and faster recovery for patients.  But the approach has its critics.

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